today and all the phone calls have taught me that you’re a great dad. so much lost time to catch up on!!
Walking around this estate cements the feeling that a particular long chapter of my life has closed. Here is where i used to begrudgingly follow my mum around as she did her weekly shop, haggling with the aunties and lightly tossing the apples to pick the juiciest. The stall i was tasked to routinely buy eggs from (‘Auntie, 12 of the medium-sized eggs please’). Upstairs, there housed one of the best chicken rice stalls in singapore – says straits times – where i heard fabled tales of overseas singaporeans heading there straight from the airport just for a portion of the fragrant and tender chicken, and entertained notions of myself being one of them. How life likes to surprise us though, haha. Nearest to the escalator, there is also the economic beehoon stall that I always used to get dinner from, although not beehoon but nasi lemak because its fried chicken was the best i’d had anywhere. I wonder if it’s the same curly-haired auntie whose soft heart belies her unsmiling face. This is the front porch where i hailed taxis from whenever it rained, and the same front porch where i would alight from a taxi, my head swarming with guilt at having broken my unspoken curfew. This is the walkway that has seen me in all the typically melodramatic stages of an adolescent life – stomach-churning moments, my proudest moments, reflective moments, rushing to church while desperately praying for forgiveness or for a taxi that miraculously drops from the sky, nervously making my way to the first ever first date, happily rushing to meet this friend or that friend – my fingers poised to send the ‘gonna be 15 minutes late, sorry’ text. This is the parking lot which I used to regard ever so fondly, and then with resentment, but now only with slightly bemused indifference. This is the start of the path that leads to holland v, a literally long and winding path i’ve only ever taken once, when the three of us still tried to play the game of ‘happy family’ and went on an extended pre-dinner walk. This bench here is where the aftermath of many fights was set, where I sought refuge whenever there was no peace at home, where I repeatedly came to the conclusion that peace can only be found in a home that is somewhere else. So here I am, finally feeling free and at peace in this place, because I am visiting rather than returning. Thank you, little estate with the good food and the friendly neighbours, thank you for all the growing up, all the loving and losing, and learning and forgiving, I did under your watch. May my mum one day find her peace here too, in her own way.
what can you do, when the world exists in so many shades of grey?
This Be The Verse
the more I think about it, the more I wish people would just mean what they say and stop saying what they don’t mean. i suppose for those who do, the older you get, the harder it is to find them.
Why are examiners’ reports so scathing? Surely they must know that we don’t deliberately make life difficult for the markers!
Sigh, was feeling like the worst kind of person today. But m came over and breathed some life into me. Tulips, one big pot of mexican chilli, and many many hugs. Thank god for him, really. Or …thank god??
Alright, here goes nothing.
m told me today that he liked my blog a lot more when it used to feature him heavily. hahaha. so here’s a post dedicated to him if he ever decides to sit down and do some reading that is not related to stumbleupon or otaku .net or his dissertation work. (although i maintain my position that it’s a good thing that my blog isn’t entirely about him, because we all know that all love and nothing else at all maketh a clingy, insecure girlfriend. i’m allowed to make this joke because i’ve been there before.) anyway, so here’s to you bub – i think you were lying when you said to me the other day that calling someone ‘bub’ is offensive (i mean, even urban dictionary casts it in a neutral-to-positive light and urban dictionary is the no. 1 offensiveness enthusiast) – and all the things that i love about you/us. there are so many things, where do i begin? i love that you are always planning little surprises for me which never turn out to be surprises in the end because you either decide to tell me, or i inadvertently make you tell me. i love the moments of us putting our feet up pondering about the future, planning for the realities of living in an expensive city and planning our exciting trips across my part of the world. i love your deadpan responses to all my exclamations and outbursts. i love how you notice every little abandoned gasp and soft sigh that escape from my mouth. i love how you never fail to ask. i love that you obviously disagree with my choices but still respect them. i love that you are always there when i have fallen from being a fool, as i am prone to. i love that you apologise even when it isn’t your fault. i love the quiet understanding between us. i love that you still break into uncontrollable giggles after saying something sweet. i love that you realised the other day we are approaching a year, then promptly freaked out and told your mother. i love that as we sat next to each other poring over the search results on rightmove . co.uk, you turned to me and said with all seriousness, i’m really looking forward to living with you. i love that we have so much fun even when doing the most mundane activities. i love the laughter we share. the one inside joke. but so much laughter. i love that the word of choice when it comes to our long-term plans is now ‘once’ instead of ‘if’. bub, happy almost-1-year anniversary and here’s to many many many more adventures together.
The cats at Sunnyside Cottage have slowly but surely made me fall head-over-kitten-heels (haha, geddit?) for them.
There is Tom, who generally likes to mind his own business except when he wants food. The way to Tom’s heart is through his stomach, and he seems to understand that the way to his stomach is through the human’s heart. You’ll know to get up in the morning because Tom will be there, purring all over your face and licking your chin over and over again until you get up and feed him. Here’s a cat that knows the importance of a good breakfast; he must need it to start his day right. And when you enter the kitchen, he’ll look at you with those Puss-in-Boots eyes and follow you everywhere like a besotted lover. When not hungry, however, Tom is finnicky and fussy about affection. You can stroke him and pet him and rub his back, and all you’ll get is the silence of indifference. Sometimes he decides he is tired of human touch and leans in the direction away from your hand. With Tom, you sometimes have to steel your heart. He’s a tough one to crack, that Tom. But offer him a few slices of ham, and he will love you intensely once again.
And then there is Logan, who is the quintessential figure you love to hate and hate to love. Like the superhero that shares his namesake, Logan appears proud, stubborn and defensive. And he is one to put up a fight. But secretly, he craves a good cuddle. Logan will scratch you one moment and then jump into your lap purring for attention the next. He doesn’t play coy – Logan spells out what he wants and he wants it now. But what Logan wants are simple things. It doesn’t matter how you stroke him; the clumsiest of fingers will make him happy and earn his love. He tells you this by purring so hard his body trembles and by rubbing his head gently against your chest. Sometimes, you don’t even have to do anything, and your presence alone is enough to make Logan purr with delight. You bask in it all and think to yourself, alright Logan I forgive you for everything. Often, Logan is so excited about spending time with you he forgets about his claws and accidentally digs them into your lap. It can really hurt. But that’s Logan, so frank and forward with his love he doesn’t always know how to play by the rules.
Finally, there is Piccolo. Piccy is quite the walking contradiction – both an intrepid explorer and a timid loner. Piccy is often hiding, away from people and sometimes even away from his fellow cats. His favourite hiding spots are kept secret, in the outside world. Piccy likes to go off and have a little wander on his own but also likes to sit outside the window mewing at you to let him in. Sometimes he sits next to you and you wish he could talk and tell you all about the adventures he’s had outside. You wish you could ask him about his love of solitude. But you know too that even if Piccolo could speak, he would probably be a man of few words…he would perhaps occasionally stun you with a statement that drips with wisdom and walk away before you knew how to react. Piccy doesn’t trust easily; even when eating, he jumps at hearing the slightest footstep, and he looks at you sharply, as if to ask if anything’s wrong. You can’t help but develop a soft spot for Piccolo and his little guarded heart. So you sit by him as he eats, reassuring him with pats and strokes and little kitty sounds of encouragement. Sometimes you wrap him up in your arms like a baby and whisper to him that no matter how far and wide he goes there’ll always be someone waiting for him back home.
Despite all the midnight cheesy fries and pizzas and pastas and steaks and paninis and berries all year round, cheap cheese, or herbs that belong in Martha Stewart’s kitchen, I still miss singapore food so, so much. Attempts by well-intentioned but slightly misled chefs just don’t cut it after a while. Sigh.